Wines I love: Ovum Wines “Big Salt” from Oregon

The Wines I Love series at Twin Cities Wine is an easy way for me chronicle wines of distinctive personality that I seek out again and again. There is no price minimum or maximum (though I tend to hover in the $15-25 range quite a bit), and no allegiance to a specific region, producer, distributor, or dogma.

This is all about great juice that you can find at better wine shops in the Twin Cities.

Wine: Ovum Winery “Big Salt” White Blend
Place of origin: Oregon

Composition: 43% Riesling, 35% Gewürztraminer, 11% Pinot Blanc, 9% Early Harvest Muscat, 1% Others.

More details: all grapes are from organically certified or practicing vineyards, with vines averaging 35+ years old. Native yeast fermentation, with a touch of skin contact.

Price: $20 or so.
Local distributor: Libation Project.

BIG SALT is a fascinating aromatic white blend from Oregon, making use of the rise of interesting white varieties that are being planted more and more often in that state. Jon Bonné of Punch said it best: ““This is exactly the sort of white winemaking the West Coast could use more of.”

I agree!

I don’t think it’s just the name of the wine playing tricks on me, but there is a definite salinity to this wine. At 12.5% ABV it’s dry, but with the bright aromatics of the grape varieties it fools you a bit. Humans aren’t used to smelling such a bouquet and not having any sugar in the juice. Even if there is a touch of RS (residual sugar) left in the wine it’s totally balanced by the acidity.

Aromas of lemon, blood orange, white tea, ocean spray, seashells, and lilacs. The aroma of this wine is one of the most complex and enchanting packages of aromatics I’ve experienced this year. You just want to smell it and giggle with happiness over and over.

For an out of this world wine and food experience, pair this with some Thai or Vietnamese cuisine (suggestion: take out from Sen Yai Sen Lek). Would also be killer with shrimp tacos or simple grilled salmon with a squeeze of citrus.

Where to find this wine? Search your favorite local fine wine shop and if they don’t have it ask for a special order. (Note on the whole “where to find a wine” question: I’m the last person to ask. I don’t know who has what in inventory at any given time. Best bet is to place a special order with your favorite retailer, or to contact the distributor for a list of who purchased it recently.)